It isn’t often I feel the urge to turn tail and run; to flee. Not since I was younger and felt unable to protect myself in the given situation. I remember once, while babysitting a few months before becoming a teen, I spent three hours living a nightmare.
It all started when an inebriated father returned home early, I was a bit disappointed to lose the few hours of babysitting money. At the time I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be paid at all, I didn’t know that the rest of my life would be impacted by the next three hours.
It seems that there is an established fantasy where the father finds a randy babysitter for a bit of excitement. It didn’t take long for the drunkard to make advances, which I skillfully deflected, the event seemed to last forever. Eventually the father gave up his quest, perhaps sobering off or realizing that without force he wasn’t getting what he wanted. He worked for hours, line after line of putrid conversation, trying to talk down my defenses; he lost.
I tripped him up when he brought up the fact we’d been having trouble with an obscene phone caller, something we hadn’t mentioned to anyone. At twelve, I was brave enough to call him out on the fact that we’d kept it a secret. I remember the fear running down my spine when I realized I was alone with a person harassing us..
Eventually talking my way out of being sexually assaulted, or worse, I was driven home. When I checked the time, it had been three hours of negotiations with this depraved person. The next morning, I revealed my ordeal to my mother, not much was said other than she’d talk to my father. I was heartbroken to hear her tell me that my father felt I was a dirty slut that got what I deserved. I chose to never speak to him again, unless absolutely needed. To add insult to injury, hours later I was told I had to return my babysitting money to the man and apologize for making up such a terrible lie.
I lived with this guilt and anger for years after this event, feeling horrible about myself. Twenty years later, on my father’s death bed we made amends. I told him why I became to cold to him, I was told he had said about my attempted assault. To my horror, he never knew about the assault and certainly hadn’t said anything about me as it had been reported. It’s heartbreaking to think I spent the better part of my life penalizing someone over something they never said or did.
Perhaps I should have challenged him at the time, my life would have been different had I not alienated my father like I did. He had come to the conclusion that I was no good, a fact my mother still tells still me to this day. I’ve mentioned my last conversation to her, about the untrue comments she made, she replied that it was the way things were ‘back then’ and that was that. Now that I’m older, I realize we live in a blame the victim society.